THOUSANDS more Polish workers are heading to the UK to milk our “generous” welfare system, it was warned last night.
Poles in Britain on the minimum wage rake in four times what they would at home & it keeps our wages low in turn.
But now they also have full access to benefits, said an Incentives For Polish Migration study by MigrationWatch UK.
The transition period for eastern European countries that joined the EU in May 2004, including Poland, ended on May 1, 2011.
Similar rules will apply to Bulgarians and Romanians, whose transition period for full EU membership ends in January 2014.
In 2004 there were just 95,000 Polish-born residents living in the UK. That number had risen to 550,000 by 2010.
Last night MigrationWatch called on the Government to tighten up the rules on EU workers claiming benefits to prevent unsustainable numbers of eastern Europeans flooding into the country.
Sir Andrew Green, 70, chairman of the think-tank, said it was “a very serious mistake to extend full access to our benefit system to nationals of member states where the standard of living is only about one third of ours”.
He added: “In fairness to the hard- pressed British taxpayer, this must be changed. We even pay child benefit at British rates to kids who have never set foot in this country.”
Last night the Department For Work And Pensions insisted it was doing everything possible to stop migrants abusing the system.
Meanwhile a report published in medical journal BMJ Open found that half of all people claiming sickness benefits come from a background of “lower standards of intellectual ability”.